BUTTERWORTH: Nurul Izzah Anwar is devoting her time to serving her constituents and doing community work after her shock decision last December to resign from all her party positions, including as PKR vice-president and Penang PKR chief, and federal posts.
In keeping with her pledge then to be committed to reforms as a parliamentary backbencher, the Permatang Pauh MP said she is striving for change and championing a women’s health cause.
“Yes, you can rule me out of politics for now ... there is enough Malaysian politics to go around and I am working for change.
“There is a lot of community work to be done and I am right now focusing on Permatang Pauh and on the ways to help the villagers here,” Nurul Izzah said in an interview with The Star at Kubang Semang in Permatang Pauh yesterday.
The 38-year-old mother of two lit up when asked about her new work involving a health programme called ROSE (Removing Obstacles to Cervical Screening), a new cervical screening programme featuring a test kit that allows women to collect their own sample and send to a lab for testing of HPV or human papillomavirus, the virus that causes cervical cancer.
“There is a 90% success rate with ROSE compared to 50% for Pap smear. So we are really pushing forward to get this new programme in, especially in villages.
“Only 13% participate in Pap smear screening, which is very disheartening,” noted Nurul Izzah.
In January, her mother and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, launched ROSE in Kuala Lumpur.
On views that she should have continued with her work as the chairman of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) task force – set up in June last year – Nurul Izzah said she had completed her work within the six-month period.
“It was a wide scope and we recommended a commission to monitor all the ongoing training, set benchmarks on curriculums and ensure that they are industry-driven and the relevant ministries take them up,” she said.
On Balik Pulau MP and Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik being the acting PKR state chairman, Nurul Izzah said it was agreed on by the party leadership.
“In fact, Bakhtiar is the chairman and will be in that position for some time,” she said.
Asked about the perception that things have regressed since the 14th General Election, Nurul said everyone needs to focus on the work at hand and have clarity of thought.
“Our policies for the people should be implemented without partisan beliefs,” she added.
Last May, Nurul Izzah won the Permatang Pauh seat in GE14 with a 15,668-vote majority.
Her father, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, first won the Permatang Pauh seat in 1982 and held it until 1999 when he was jailed for abuse of power.
Dr Wan Azizah then contested and won the seat in the 1999, 2004 and 2008 general elections.
On July 31, 2008, she vacated the seat for Anwar, who won it in a by-election and again in the 2013 general election but was disqualified as MP later after being found guilty of sodomy.
In May 2015, Dr Wan Azizah became the MP again following a by-election.